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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Backup Your Mac (or PC), you will

We're featuring a guest blogger today. Bonnie Kay Ornitz, who runs Valley Mac Solutions.

If you're a Macvalley member and want us to promote your business, just send me a blog entry. 

Backup your computer, you will.
by Valley Mac Solutions on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 7:31am ·
It's that dreaded clicking or whining we hear as our hard drive says it's final goodbye. Like Murphy's Law, it usually happens at the worst possible time, when an important work or school project is due, or you've just returned home from a cruise and can't wait to share your vacation memories with friends and family.

While we cannot prevent the inevitable, we can be prepared. Corporations spend a lot of time and money preparing for a disaster, so there's no reason why each of us can't spend a few minutes and a few dollars to do the same.

The solution is simple. Back up your data!

Let's take a look at a simple and inexpensive backup strategy for both Mac and PC users. The first thing to do is buy an external drive whose capacity is at least the same size as the hard drive on your computer. There are advantages to buying even larger drives and partitioning them for multiple uses, but we’ll address that in a different article. Good deals can be found at local as well as online retailers.

Mac Users:

Time Machine was released in conjunction with Mac OSX Leopard in October 2007, so if you purchased a new Mac or upgraded to Leopard, Snow Leopard or Lion in the last 4 years, the software comes bundled with the Operating System.

Connect any compatible USB, Firewire or Thunderbolt drive.
If you haven’t specified a Time Machine device yet, the first time you connect an external drive, Time Machine asks if you would like to use it for a Backup Disk. Click “Decide Later”.
Format Disk (since most are formatted for PCs):
Run Disk Utility (Applications/Utilities folder) - I like to keep a shortcut in the dock for easy access.
Click on the icon of the disk you plan to use for backups.
Choose Format: Mac OS Extended (journaled).
Enter Name: Time Machine (that's what I call it).
Click the Erase button.
Close Disk Utility.

Configure Time Machine:
Click the "Time Machine clock" icon at the top of your screen.
Click "Open Time Machine Preferences".
Click "Select Disk" and a window will pop up giving you choices.
Select the new disk you just plugged in and click "Use For Backup".
Click the toggle button to the "ON" position.
Close Time Machine Preferences.
Time Machine will run automatically and you can rest easy knowing that your data has been duplicated in the event of an internal hard drive failure.

PC Users:

Microsoft released Windows 7 in October 2009. It has a good backup tool bundled with the Operating System.

Connect a USB drive and take the following steps to configure and run the backup:
Open up Computer from the Start Menu.
Right Click on your local drive and select Properties.
Then click on the Tools tab and click the “Back up now” button.
In the "Backup or restore your files”, window click the link “Set up a backup”.
Windows will search for a suitable drive to store the backup or you can also choose a location on your network.
Select your new USB drive and click "Next".
In the window that appears saying "What do you want to back up?" click "Let me choose".
Select the check box for each item that you'd like to back up. I also recommend that you check the box "Include a system image of drives: (C:)". This will create a bootable image that can be used to restore your system if the computer can't boot from the internal disk drive. Click "Next".
Click "Change Schedule" and pick when and how often you'd like to back up your system. I recommend daily. Pick a time that your computer will be powered on, but not peak usage since it may slow the system down a bit.
Click "Save settings and run backup". You can monitor the progress of the backup if you'd like.

Backing up your computer is like buying insurance. You hope that you’ll never need it, but if something goes wrong, you’ll be glad that you have it.

Next time we'll take a look at restoring data on both platforms.



Bonnie Kay Ornitz
Valley Mac Solutions
Fast Mac and Apple Product Solutions and Training
(818) 217-0122



  1. I agree completely.

    Data backup is treated very much as an afterthought or for some reason people think their machine will never break down or get stolen.

    It is not difficult and can save a lot of heartache and wasted time

    Have a look at the comparison data on out web site.

    Hope it is of assistance

  2. PC Backup in this era is so necessary and many people dont realize how important it is until all of their data is gone. my favorite system is MY PC backup. does mostly all the work itself!!




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